Tangerines, mandarins, clementines—all different names for all different types of oranges. But while they all have a base fruit type in common, each of these fruits have their differences, as do the several varieties among them. For instance, the Dancy tangerine!
Want to know more about the Dancy tangerine? No worries—I’ve gathered everything you need to know right here. From recipes you can make to how you can grow your very own Dancy tangerine tree, I’ve got everything you could possibly want regarding the Dancy tangerine, what you can do with it, and what it looks like! Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Characteristics of the Dancy Tangerine
Appearance of the Dancy Tangerine
The Dancy tangerine is a beautiful, sleek fruit that shows off every classic attribute you expect to see from a tangerine. It has smooth, bright orange skin, inner fruit to match, and pale green seeds. Occasionally you’ll see some with more bumps and texture to the skin, but they’re generally pretty even fruits in appearance and feel.
Dancy tangerines are a bit larger than clementines but smaller than the classic orange, so they’re a good middle ground between the two if you happen to think oranges are too big to try and pack up but clementines are too small to be satisfying. Dancy tangerines are the perfect compromise between the two, so if you’ve got lunches to pack or snacks to prepare, these are a great choice in place of cupped or canned fruit that might have a bunch of added sugar and other ingredients you don’t want you or your kids consuming.
Taste of the Dancy Tangerine
Just like most other oranges, Dancy tangerines have a flavor that dips into notes of both sweet and sour, a tart hint to their fruit that still offers a bit of tongue-curling bite that you look for in citrus. However, the Dancy tangerine is unique in that it also contains a little taste of spicier notes, something reminiscent of a holiday-like flavor that makes them perfect for citrus-based recipes that might be geared more toward the winter season…for instance, a tangerine twist on a hot toddy!
Dancy Tangerine Tree Traits
While you can harvest Dancy tangerines a little early and allow them to ripen off the tree—in fact, they’re especially well-suited to that—you won’t want to leave them on the tree very long. They rot quickly past the point of ripeness, so it’s better to err on the side of caution than leave them up for too long. You also run the risk of pests getting to them if you aren’t quick about it.
Dancy tangerine trees can grow to be about 15 feet in height and 8 feet wide in their spread of branches, but they have a long, long time to grow before they start bearing fruit—when you plant a Dancy tree, you’ll still have to wait at least three years for fruit, and it can even go as long as five years before starting to produce.
It also requires quite a bit of sunlight, so if you live in a shady area or don’t have any open spaces for this tree, you’re not going to want to try growing this at home. But if you have plenty of patience, as well as a spot with plenty of sun and well-draining soil, you absolutely can plant your own Dancy tangerine tree! They’re well-suited to container growing, so even if you don’t have a garden space for it, you can get a container in the proper size and use that instead.
Uses for the Dancy Tangerine
As with most types of oranges, tangerines are great for snacking on, and the Dancy is no different. It’s easy to peel and its fruit is delicious, packed full of the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and spice. There’s nothing missing from this versatile fruit, and the best part? It’s incredibly good for you.
Tangerines are antioxidant-heavy, which can help with preventing cancer, heart disease, and all kinds of other things. They’re also packed full of vitamin C, which is important for skin, bone, and generally whole-body health. And another plus? A tangerine a day will help keep the scurvy away. While scurvy has become nearly inseparable from the idea of pirates, in actuality, you never need to step foot on a boat to potentially begin suffering from this disease. All it takes is a lack of vitamin C, which generally results from a lack of proper fruits and vegetables in someone’s diet.
Snacking on tangerines isn’t the only way to get some extra vitamin C in your diet; you can also cook with these pretty orange fruits! While they can be used in anything that requires citrus as one of its ingredients (or, at least, oranges; you will likely notice a larger flavor difference if you use them for lemon recipes, lime recipes, etc.), but they’re especially well-suited to things such as sorbets, marmalades, and more!
Like I mentioned earlier, you could even play around with a twist on a hot toddy with some tangerine sour-spice if you want to take a little risk. Or, if you’re wanting to stick on the more traditional side, use the juice of this delicious fruit to make the perfect morning mimosa.
When is the Dancy Tangerine in season?
The Dancy tangerine comes into season a bit late—you’ll actually find them coming into season around November or December, though some can go as long as into the next spring season. In addition to their hint of extra spice flavor, this makes them great for winter holiday recipes, as they’ll be ripe right around this time.
If you want to package up some homemade—and maybe even homegrown!—marmalades for this Christmas, you absolutely can, and your family is sure to be thrilled with having such a unique and delicious gift to spread on their toast for months to come. A little taste of “summer” citrus for their winter breakfast!
Where is the Dancy Tangerine grown?
While the Dancy should only be planted outdoors in warmer, more humid climates, you absolutely can plant them elsewhere if you use a container and bring them inside when it gets cold. Since they don’t ripen until winter, if you plant them somewhere with cold winters, you likely won’t end up being able to harvest the fruit at all; if you keep your tree in a container, you’ll be just fine if you bring it inside before the frost starts to hit!
If you want to grow the Dancy tangerine outdoors, be sure to check your growing zone before making that final choice, You’ll want to make sure you live between zones 9-11.
Final Thoughts on the Dancy Tangerine
Now that you’re armed with all the knowledge you need about the Dancy tangerine, you’re all set to start buying, snacking, cooking, and/or even growing! Ultimately, these mid-size orange fruits are a versatile, utterly tempting treat that you don’t need to feel any guilt about indulging in…they do stave off the scurvy, after all. Happy eating, growing, or gifting—these little guys have it all for you!
Excited for more orange content? Check out our orange trees page to start learning everything there is to know about your favorite citrus!
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, a lover of colorful gardens, and a writer for Minneopa Orchards.
After earning her bachelor’s in Creative Writing (partially through virtual learning, thanks to the pandemic), gardening gave her an excuse to get outside and get away from all the screens. With a particular love for decorating with colorful flowers, using herbs grown in her own garden, and finding creative ways to build big gardens in small spaces, Cassidy enjoys helping others learn about growing their own food, flowers, and trees through Minneopa Orchards!